RAU students to benefit from access to 15,000-acre Bathurst Estate in an innovative new partnership

12 Aug 2020

The Royal Agricultural University (RAU) is pleased to announce a new partnership with Gloucestershire’s Bathurst Estate. This will provide students and staff with access to 15,000 acres of farmland, forestry, environmentally managed land, real estate, heritage properties and a range of rural enterprises for teaching, research and knowledge exchange.

The diverse range of rural enterprises that operate within the Bathurst Estate will provide invaluable real-world experience to students on all of the University’s courses – including agriculture, business, the environment, real estate, rural land management, equine and the new cultural heritage programmes launching this year.

The historic Estate is “over the wall” from the Cirencester-based University and is owned by Lord Allen Bathurst, an alumnus and one of the University’s Vice-Presidents. The Bathurst family has supported the University (then the Royal Agricultural College) since its foundation 175 years ago.

The Estate will benefit greatly from an ever-closer working relationship with the University. Engagement with academics who are thought leaders, alongside staff and student research projects will inevitably add value to its future strategic plans.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Joanna Price said: “The University has been at the forefront of the land-based sector for 175 years and remains committed to continually enhancing the learning experience for its students. This is why we are delighted to announce this exciting partnership with the Bathurst Estate which provides a new and innovative approach to the delivery of practical teaching.

“The traditional approach taken by land-based institutions like ours has been to rely heavily on facilities provided by their own farms. However, this can limit the students’ learning experience at a time of unprecedented change in the way we produce food, manage land, our natural resources and sustain rural economies into the future. To this end, we must ensure that our students’ horizons are as broad as possible.

“This collaboration provides a wealth of additional opportunities on our doorstep for students to gain applied practical experience of innovative and sustainable approaches to managing the land, producing food in an economically sustainable way, while protecting the environment, supporting the rural economy and enhancing the local community.”

Lord Bathurst said: “I welcome this new partnership which will allow students to get experience and access to everyday practical land management issues. The Estate in return will gain from the students’ freer blue sky thinking and a ‘can do’ approach and attitude to tackling some of the traditional problems found in the landed sector.”

Lewis Bebb, RAU Student Union President, said: “This new partnership between the RAU and the Bathurst Estate is a truly exciting move which will bring about a breadth of opportunities for students on all of the University’s courses. I am very much looking forward to seeing the benefits it will bring to the student experience and the invaluable real-life skills which will be gained.”